The Most “Wonderful” Time of the Year?
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

If you have been reading my emails or following The Next Page podcast for any length of time, you know that I refer to the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year as “the most wonderful time of the year.” Yes, I love summer and being in or on the water with my family, but there is something almost magical about this season. Sadly, for many of us, it is also a time of added stress. If we are not careful, this time of year can be anything but wonderful. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few things we can do to reduce the stress and anxiety of the Holiday Season so that we can focus more on this wonderful time of year.

Be intentional – Marisa Norcross has taught me so much about living with intentionality. She and her family have seasonal bucket lists. Before each season, they sit down and list all the activities they would like to enjoy together in the coming season. During the activity, they document it with pictures and, when finished, check it off the list. This is the first year I have tried the seasonal bucket list, and I have six things on my list already. To reduce even more stress, I am scheduling the activities so that I can plan everything else around them.

Manage Expectations – Unspoken expectations are planned disappointments. Far too often, we are disappointed that things didn’t work out as we had hoped. The other side of managing expectations is the belief that perfection is unattainable. We should plan on the fact that things will go wrong, people will get sick, traffic jams will occur, and flights will be canceled. Such is life, and when you are prepared for the disappointment, it’s not as bad. Choose to find something positive in every situation, and you may find a new memory that will be a blessing for years to come. Or maybe just something to laugh about in the future.

Be Fully Present – When you are enjoying time with family and friends, disconnect from work. Put away the technology and spend time connecting with people. Some of my family members really enjoy jigsaw puzzles and board games. Great conversations occur as they search for that one piece that has eluded them for what seems to be hours. As you stroll through crowds of people, don’t focus on the craziness. Instead, look for smiles, happiness, and the sounds and smells of the season.

This really can be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It just takes a bit of planning and effort. If you would like to hear more tips and tricks on this topic, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 233 of The Next Page podcast. We will share what has and hasn’t worked for us over the years.

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